Jewelry and Cultures Around the World

When a person puts on their jewelry, they probably assess how it looks with the outfit they have selected or wonder what it tells others about their style. The piece may have sentimental value, but in many parts of the world, jewelry plays a role in the wearer’s culture. In fact, jewelry often has a meaning behind it, and this meaning varies by country, the materials used in its creation, and the piece itself. This information becomes of great help in choosing which pieces to wear when.


Over the centuries, jewelry has been used for a range of purposes. At times, it served as a form of currency or provided information about one’s status or religion. Some people wear pieces as a means of self-expression or as a fashion accent to complement their outfits. Jewelry may be gifted as part of a rite of passage or handed down through the generations. Why is this important?

How Jewelry Has Been Used Throughout History

In ancient times, men and women wore jewelry. In fact, some pieces date back more than 90,000 years. Prehistoric people created their jewelry from items that were readily available, such as feathers, stones, shells, and more. Nevertheless, these items still had meaning for them.

Certain cultures would take these everyday items and combine them in a way that reflected their beliefs or their affiliations. While this became less commonplace as time passed, many things remain the same. Today, people may choose their jewelry as it symbolizes something of importance to them. Others choose their pieces as they have a particular purpose for the jewelry in mind.

Men and women should go to Adina’s Jewels today and check out the selection available. When doing so, consider the following purposes for jewelry and how each piece on the site might be used to fulfill one of them.


Men and women used jewelry as a form of currency during certain periods in history. It was also employed as a tool used in trading. For example, Ancient Egyptians used jewelry rather than traditional coin currency until the latter part of their history. They would barter rings or other pieces when they wanted or needed something. This was in direct contrast to the overall economy, which remained organized and tightly controlled. Today, some cultures continue this practice and use jewelry to pay for goods. The value of the piece is determined by the value of the materials used to create it.


Investors today often choose to diversify their portfolios and purchase precious metals to help them achieve this goal. Others, however, purchase valuable jewelry as a way to secure their wealth. They prefer this option over gold and silver coins and bullion. Today, this trend continues, as many people see valuable jewelry as an investment. In fact, certain countries secure their wealth with the help of their royal jewelry.


Throughout history, people have used jewelry to show their place in society. In fact, this trend continues in many parts of the world today. People with wealth wear more expensive pieces to show their net worth. In addition, they often possess a larger collection of pieces as a means of showing their status in society.

However, this isn’t the case everywhere. For instance, early Romans enacted laws regarding who was permitted to own and wear gold rings. They went further and limited the amount of gold a family could own. Even those families that ranked high in society were subject to these limits.


Men and women may be able to discern a person’s religion by looking at the jewelry they wear. Some religions provide a person with a symbol of a particular achievement or use jewelry to show that person’s place within the religion. Catholic girls may receive a rosary when they make their first communion or a young man might receive a necklace with a cross. Married women who adhere to Hinduism wear necklaces with golden and black beads, while Islamic men don those made of gold.


While people frequently wear jewelry to add a decorative touch to their outfits, the pieces may serve another purpose as well. For instance, a woman might use a brooch to secure her shawl, choosing the brooch to match the shawl and complement the outfit.

Men add cuff links to a dress shirt to add a touch of elegance, but they also make it easy to cuff the sleeves, hence their name. In the past, rings would often be used to stamp correspondence, and this serves as another example of how jewelry can fulfill a purpose rather than simply being fashionable. However, some people do purchase jewelry strictly for that purpose.


Countless men and women don one or more jewelry pieces simply because they like them. The pieces match their clothes and add the finishing touch to their outfits. They pick up inexpensive pieces that follow the latest trend or invest in timeless pieces that can be handed down through the generations.


Many women and some men use jewelry as a way to express themselves. They want to share information about their personality or their style with others and use these accessories to do so. It gives them confidence or provides them with a connection to their past if the piece has been handed down through the generations.


When you see a person with a ring on the third finger of their left hand, you know they are either engaged or married. Jewelry worn on this ring finger is associated with a relationship in many western cultures. A promise ring also serves as a sign of a committed relationship along with mother rings.


Some people carry a rabbit’s foot around with them for good luck. Other people choose jewelry as a talisman. For instance, a person might choose an evil eye charm necklace to protect themselves from this malicious look.

Jewelry can be used to represent a person’s ideas or values. It might be an heirloom that has been passed down through the generations or a gift from a loved one. When a piece of jewelry has a special meaning behind it, the wearer feels different. For instance, a talisman could leave the individual feeling safe and strong. Furthermore, jewelry may be used to share a person’s feelings toward someone else, such as when a man gives a woman a diamond engagement ring. The symbolism behind the piece makes it special to the person and they want to wear it regularly. Keep this in mind when buying jewelry to get the right piece every time.